Vexilar Sonarphone T-Box Update

I’m really loving the Vexilar sonarphone T-Box with navionics mobile phone app. My previous threads on the installation and set up can be found at:

This post is more of an update on how things have been going. I initially planned to hold the phone and look at is as and when needed. However, I’ve spent more money and now have a railblaza phone mount which works really well. What I love the most is the live updates. As I paddle over a spot I watch my chart change immediately and get stored for future reference. This really is a nice feature that is going to help me find and re-visit those marks that might hold fish.

Battery life on the phone continues to be adequate for a morning session but you would struggle if out all day. This is the only real disadvantage I can see with the set up.

Pics:

The new mount for the phone:
railblaza mobile phone mount

Close up of the split screen fish finder and plotter:
Vexilar T-Box sonarphone view

The clever bit. Here you can see the area that I have just been over. It shows how much extra detail is actually underneath you compared to the original chart:
Vexilar Live Chart Update 1 Kayak

More here:
Vexilar Live Chart Update 2 Kayak

Looking forward to more sessions with the vexilar.

Sunny Solo Session – Yuki Rubymar, DIY weedless lures and nice cod

I got out early morning on Friday. I needed this one after a difficult couple of weeks of work. The plan was ‘the usual’. To head out at Whitley Bay for convenience at bait fish at anchor but I would take a few lures just in case. I wasn’t expecting much from the fishing from the last few reports but just needed to clear my head a bit.

I set out into lovely conditions and immediately noticed how clear the water was. Not just a bit clear but as clear as I’ve seen it even in mid summer. Excellent I thought. My attention turned to getting my lure rod ready. My wife bought me a Yuki Rubymar rod from Moonfleet at Christmas and it has just sat in the garage waiting patiently until today. I wanted to try this rod after watching a few videos of people messing about with them and catching very large fish and for only £20 I thought it would be good fun.

I added a homemade weedless shad (attempting to cut down some of the costs of the Fiiish) and within 5 minutes I had a fish on. Not a big fish but it was a lot of fun on the Rubymar. I then had to wait a while but I was enjoying the slow drift in the sun. I then had a very subtle tap followed by nothing. This happened a good few times before the rod lurched over and a better fish was on. A big grin set upon my face as I reeled it in and it turned out to be a 5 1/2 pound cod.

I then thought I would try bait fishing for a bit given that I’d gone to the effort of defrosting my bait but didn’t even get a knock. A couple of hours had past and it was time for me to head in to help out with the kids. I’d had my fix until the next time.

I’m liking the Rubymar purely for the fun factor. Even the small fish felt like a monster!

Some pics of the short session:

Lovely conditions:
kayak fishing in the sun UK

Happy to be back out by the lighthouse. Loads of seals about already though:
kayak fishing whitely bay uk

First small cod brought in:
kayak fishing uk cod

Something better this time. The Yuki Rubymar gets a good bend!
Yuki Rubymar Fishing Rod

The 5 1/2 pounder. That is tea sorted:
big cod on lures

Cod Fishing UK Yuki Rubymar

The ‘devil ear’ green one had all the interest today. Nothing from the others but glad it looks like I have a cheap alternative for the snaggy stuff:
DIY weedless lures cod pollock under £2

A very short video for anyone interested in a cheap fun light lure rod. I’m not sure how it will stand up to the abuse of kayak fishing but I’ll enjoy finding out.

Fish Finder Battery Box

Hi All,

I have just finished making up a battery box for my new Raymarine Dragonfly 5 pro. Prior to this I had just been using a dry bag but wanted to switch to something a bit more sturdy.

First up was finding a suitable box. I found the Pelican 1120 to be the perfect size for my 12v 7ah battery. In addition to the size, it comes with foam included that has perforated edges so can be cut to size very easily to make a nice snug fit so that the battery doesn’t move around.

Peli 1120 kayak fishing battery box

This is the Pelican 1120 fish finder battery box. It is the perfect size for most 12v batteries used for kayak fishing.

Peli 1120 Dimensions

These are the dimensions of the Pelican 1120. Check this for size to ensure your battery will fit.

The Peli 1120 case is not cheap. A new case with foam will set you back around £35-40. The good news is that they regularly appear second hand on EBay. I managed to purchase 2 in a week both for lesson than £20. This is still quite expensive but the box feels very sturdy and is completely water tight.

You can remove the perforated edges of the foam to give a really close fit to your battery. This will prevent any movement whilst out paddling your kayak.

Fitting 12v battery to Pelican 1120

Fitting the 12v battery to the Peli 1120 box is very simple by removing the already perforated foam.

Once the battery was in place I fitted some female crimp terminals to some short lengths of cable. I included an in line fuse that can take micro fuse blades. This is recommended by most fish finders in their installation manual and will prevent any spikes in voltage causing any damage to your expensive fish finder.

I connected the live and neutral cable to an index marine bulgin low flange socket (http://www.indexmarine.co.uk/bulgin-connectors.html). These are expensive (approx £10) but they are so simple to install and offer a watertight seal. Combine this with the index marine plug connected to the fish finder power cable and you have an easy way to connect the fish finder to the battery box.

Index Marine Bulgin socket

The 2 pin Index Marine Bulgin plug and low flange sockets offer a waterproof connection from the battery box to the fish finder power supply.

The finished result is shown below:

Peli 1120 with bulgin socket

Peli 1120 battery box with Index Marine Bulgin socket fitted

I’ve been really happy with how the battery box ended up and see it lasting longer than I will!

Cheers,

James

Sonar Phone T Box by Vexilar

Hi All,

I recently acquired (through Navionics) a T box made by vexilar. This, along with their transducer allows you to convert any smart phone into a fish finder using WiFi. You can also share your signal with other users nearby just as you would a WiFi signal at home. It also works with the Navionics mobile app so you not only have a fish finder but a GPS with full navionics charts. It sounded impressive.

Sonar Phone Fishfinder and Marine Charts

With the Vexilar T Box and transducer you can use any smart phone or tablet as a fish finder. Combine with Navionics and you also have marine charts.

The transducer is a dual-beam transducer with a built in temperature sensor and can go down to 240ft. It states that in hull mounts are fine. I’ve gone through the set up process and my initial impressions are really good.

All you need is to add the T box fairly close to your battery. The T box needs a 12v power supply and once switched on, emits a WiFi signal that you can connect to via your phone. In my case, I then open my navionics app and it detects the T Box and offers both charts and fish finder. You can fully configure the fish finder just as you would any stand alone unit (i.e units, fish alarms, depth alarms).

I intend to use this unit when away on holidays when you might hire a kayak to fish from (or boat for that matter) and also to use on my father in laws sailing boat that I often go out on in the summer. We use this mostly for sailing but normally find time to wet a line. I will be using a temporary method to have the transducer on a form of transducer arm straight into the water. However, my initial impressions make me think that you don’t have to just view this as a temporary device. It could easily replace a number of standard fish finder models if you are happy to use your smart phone on the water (with a waterproof case!).

I stuck the T Box to my battery box using velcro so that it can be easily removed. A lot of cable is provided so I have just use some electric cable ties to wind up that which isn’t needed. You can see from the picture below I have also built a temporary transducer arm mount to fit to the outside of the kayak using dual lock (much stronger than velcro).

T Box Sonar Phone Vexilar

T Box mounted to battery box using velcro. Cables tidies with cable ties. A temporary transducer arm made to hold the transducer.

Whilst I know an in hull transducer mount is normally the way forward, I want this to be removable and used in a number of different applications. I don’t like the look of the ram mount transducer arm due to the cost and the bulky size and saw this idea on the Australian forum “yakshed”. This mount seemed popular as it is much more streamlined that manufactured transducer arms and requires no drilling and can be easily removed during launch and landings.

External transducer arm mount DIY

External Transducer Arm mount using velcro – Taken from the forum “YakShed”

Second picture taken from "YakShed"

Second picture taken from “YakShed”

Once the T Box had a 12v supply I turned it on by pressing the red button on the side. I then went into my smart phones WiFi settings and saw a “T Box” WiFi signal. You can connect to this without any password. Once connected I launched my Navionics mobile chart app (link: http://www.navionics.com/en/mobile-pc-app)

Navionics Mobile App

Launching Navionics Mobile App

When loading, Navioncs detects the T Box and prompt you to choose between marine or lake.

Navionics Mobile Sonar Chart

On loading, Navionics detects the T Box and asks if you are going inland or into the sea.

You then get the choice to configure the fish finder just as you would a standalone variety.

Configuring Vexilar Sonar Phone

Configuring Vexilar Sonar app just as you would a stand alone fish finder.

I was beginning to get really impressed with the ease at which this all gets set up. It really is simple. Once configured you get something similar to the below. A split screen showing the Navionics charts along with the sonar results. This screenshot was taken inside my house hence the lack of reading on the transducer!

Vexilar Sonar Phone with Navionics

A screenshot showing the Vexilar Sonar Phone app with Navionics charts.

When you tilt the phone it toggles between full fish finder view (i.e. no chart) and split screen with chart and sonar. Below shows the full sonar view:

Full sonar view

Full sonar view

Over the coming weeks I should have a chance to test the sonar out and will report back on how I find it if anyone is interested.

Cheers,

James

Kayak Fishing Navionics Charts

First outing – Stealth Profisha 575 Fishing Kayak

Eric Davos from Stealth Kayaks Europe gave us a Stealth Profisha 575 to store as a demo and I got to try it out for the first time yesterday. Conditions were pretty poor with 3ft waves crashing on the shore and a bigger swell outside but the wind was light enough and given the conditions recently I had to give it a go.

My first impressions are very good. It feels really stable and paddles well. The glide with each paddle stroke is really noticeable but I want to paddle it in a flat sea before commenting on speed compared to the 475. I took out a couple of rods and fished for about an hour. There are still a good number of fish out there. I’ve found the fishing pretty poor at this time of year previously but this doesn’t seem to be the case this year which is a great sign.

If anyone is interested in trying out the Stealth Profisha 575 just get in touch.

Here are some pics:

Paddling stealth profisha 575

Paddling Stealth Profisha 575

Cod Fishing Profisha 575 Kayak

First fish on the Profisha 575

Profisha 575 Stealth Kayak - cod on

Rod bending action

Cod fishing Stealth Profisha

That is tea sorted!

A weedless cod and pollock soft plastic shad for under £2

I love light lure fishing in the summer up in the North East and Northumberland. A light lure rod, 15-20lb braid, a small baitcaster reel and a weedless lure is all I need to have a lot of fun amongst the deep kelp beds. I’ve had a lot of success and pulled out double figure cod and pollock with this method. My favourite lures to date are Black Fiiish minnows and the HTO Artic eels. The HTO Artic eels just have the edge for me personally but both have been excellent. In 20ft or under I use something in the region of 20-25g. I’ve also started using this set up over some of our wrecks off shore which has been very exciting. For this style I need something around the 50-70g weight range. Pulling up a double figure ling on a weedless savage gear sandeel was a great moment.

The only problem with this style of fishing is the cost. The black fiiish minnows are very expensive. The HTO Artic eels are better value but still set you back a fair amount. They don’t last forever as by their own success, they get hammered a lot. Also, even though weedless, you are going to lose a few. Pot ropes are my biggest issues. If I get one wrapped around those it is normally game over.

Over the last couple of nights I’ve been making my own weedless shads and lures using a mixture of components. The finished article look good and I cannot wait to test them out when the water clears a little.

I used the following components:

27g Lures:
– 1 x Spro bottom jig 18g (pack of 4 for £2.99 so 75p each)
– 1 x 10cm Fox Rage Zander Pro Shad (bought on sale for 55p)
– 1 x 3/0 wide gape weedless hook
– Couple of drops of superglue to stick the lure head to the lead
– Stanley knife to put a carefully placed slit into the belly of the shad to allow the hook to travel through.
Overall price: ~ £1.60

57g Lure:
– 1 x Devil Ear 50g jig head (I have bought a mould for these so very cheap once you have paid the initial investment)
– 2 x small split rings (pennies)
– 1 x 12cm Fox Rage Zander Pro Shad (bought on sale for 64p)
– 1 x 4/0 wide gape weedless hook
– Couple of drops of superglue to stick the lure head to the lead
– Stanley knife to put a carefully placed slit into the belly of the shad to allow the hook to travel through.
Overall price: ~ £1 (once you have the moulds)

Here are the finished results. I’m really looking forward to trying them out and will update here over the spring / summer with the results. If they work well it will save me quite a bit over a summer season. Fingers crossed!

DIY weedless lures cod pollock under £2

Selection of weedless lures made up. Each one costing less than £2. Weights vary from 27g to 54g.

Spro bottom jig 18g

Spro bottom jig – 18g size. Ideal for inshore jigging with weedless lures.

Spro bottom jig weedless

Spro bottom jig 18g showing the pin removed. This makes it very easy to rig up weedless hooks to the jig.

Spro Bottom Jig Fox Rage Zander Pro 4" lure

Weedless cod and pollock shad using an 18g Spro Bottom Jig and a Fog Rage Zander 4″ soft plastic lure. A cheap alternative to the likes of a Fiiish Minnow costing less than £2.

Devil Ear Jig Head Ball

Devil Ear jig head ball. These are very versatile and can be used to make a nice off shore weedless articulated lure.

Devil Ear Jig Head - Weedless cod lure

Devel Ear jig head weighting 50g. This will be great for slightly deeper waters offshore.

Starting out in Kayak Fishing – Equipment needed

I’ve been asked a few times what advice would I give someone who is just getting into kayak fishing so thought I would write a post to cover my experience. There may be some difference of opinion on the web and there have been some debates on what is regarded as essential safety equipment so this post is purely based on my findings kayak fishing in the North East of England.

Below is a list of essentials to get started in my opinion. I’ll go through some of these in more detail:

Safety Equipment:

Personal Floatation Device
You will need something to help keep you afloat if you fell in. You don’t want anything too bulky that could restrict re-entry if you fell in. A PFD with a few attachment points is a real bonus as you can then attach your safety equipment to it such as your VHF. Two that I own and would recommend are:

The Palm Kaikoura: http://palmequipmenteurope.com/product/kaikoura

kaikoura PFD Kayak Fishing

Pecheur Life Vest: http://www.pecheur.com/en/gb/buy-life-vest-for-water-angler-92519.html

Pecheur Black PFD Kayak Fishing

Drysuit and sensible base layers (this is a definite for winter)
When I initially got into kayak fishing I was of the mindset that a wetsuit would be fine. I come from a surfing and kitesurfing background and use a wetsuit all year round for these sports. However, a few things to note are that you are likely to be out on the water much longer kayak fishing. In addition, you are not ‘in’ the water but on top and very susceptible to wind chill. You also aren’t super active all of the time. For these reasons, a drysuit really is a must during the colder months. You might prefer a wetsuit for the summer months but I found it uncomfortable to paddle in for long periods. When wearing your drysuit, also ensure your wear appropriate layers underneath. Cotton is a no go. It won’t wick away perspiration and will make you end up feeling wet. Always wear base layers that will keep you warm in the water, not sitting on top of the kayak. If you fall in, you may be there for some time. When choosing a drysuit, consider one with a pee zip. If you are going out for a morning or even making a day of it, you don’t want to be paddling back to shore when the fish are feeding just to relief yourself.

I have only owned one drysuit to date. This is the Typhoon PS220 Xtreme Drysuit. I’ve had it a good few years and not had any problems. It isn’t cheap but I love mine. There is a newer model out now so you might be able to pick one up at a good price (link: https://www.typhoon-int.co.uk/products/surface/drysuits/other/100132/ps220-xtreme-drysuit/ )

Kayak Fishing Drysuit Typhoon PS2220

A knife that can be easily accessed (blunt end)
You need a knife attached to you at all times. If you fall off and get a leash or line wrapped around you this might prevent you getting back on the kayak quickly. In this instance, you would be very glad of having the knife. It also has a load of other uses such as gutting your fish whilst out at sea. Get one with a blunt end and a carrying case that can be clipped or tied on to your PFD. You don’t want to be stabbing yourself accidentally!

Communication
You need a method of communicating with land in the event of a real emergency. There are 3 popular options:

– A mobile phone in a waterproof case
– A VHF radio
– A PLB

I carry all three I didn’t start out that way. I initially started with a mobile phone in a waterproof case. This works pretty well although it can be hard to hear people in the wind and in a real emergency when you are in the water this may be made worse.

A VHF is an excellent choice, especially if you get a floating and waterproof one. This can clip straight to your PFD and is very easy to use in the event of an emergency. To use one legally you need to get a VHF licence. I attended a course run by Melvyn Wallhead (web address: http://www.northumbriasailing.co.uk/ ). The VHF I have is a Standard Horizon HX290E which is both floating and waterproof and has 5W of output (link: http://www.standardhorizon.co.uk/product_info.php?cPath=178_174&products_id=100034 )

Standard Horizon HS290 VHF radio Kayak Fishing

A personal locator beacon (PLB) is yet another option. There are some advantages and disadvantages to these over the standard VHF. Firstly, once activated a PLB will continue to send its signal whilst a VHF has to be manually operated (unless you have a DSC one). Also, a VHF needs line of sight to send its signal. If you fish in secluded bays around high cliffs you may not be able to reach anyone. A PLB would be an advantage here as it is satellite based so the cliffs will not be a problem. A PLB can also be used in land (i.e. mountaineering) whilst a VHF can only be used at sea and you do not need a license to operate one. A disadvantage to a PLB is that once triggered it cannot be used again without replacing the battery. The battery life is normally 2 years without use (other than testing ) and it is expensive to replace them. The PLB that I is the fast find 220. This is small and fits in my PFD pocket and gives good peace of mind (link: http://www.mcmurdomarine.com/personal-locator-beacon/fastfind-220 )

Fastfind 220 PLB Kayak Fishing

A small first aid kit.
Keep a small first aid kit stowed in the kayak somewhere. It just makes sense. You never know what might happen and hooks can be nasty!

Fishing Equipment:

The Kayak
A kayak! Ideally 12ft+ unless you are going to be fishing very close to shore. I started out with a small 9.5ft Malibu Mini-x. Whilst this was good very close in I soon realised the error in my ways. It was slow to paddle and being so short, it veered with each paddle stroke. In a strong wind it made very little progress. In hindsight I should have waited until I could afford a longer kayak that paddled more efficiently as I soon outgrew the Malibu Mini-x and purchased a Tarpon 120. This kayak suited me very well for a good few years. It paddled much better and I started to explore further off shore. As a new person to the sport, I would look for a good second hand deal. You can often get all of the basic gear for around £600 second hand. A good site to find a deal would be Anglers Afloat. Keep an eye out for a Tarpon 120, Ocean Kayak Trident 13, Ocean Kayak Prowler 13, RTM Abaco, Viking Reload, Viking Profish 400 or Perception Triumph. These are all well-known brands that would be a great platform to get started with.

The rods
I would start with 1 rod initially and then move to two once more comfortable. There are loads of rods advertised as ‘kayak fishing’ rods that are simply too short. Don’t get the 3-4ft rods. You want a rod that you can move around the bow of the kayak if you need to. I fish with a few different rods but all are around the 7 to 7.5ft length. Try to get one with a short(ish) butt section. They feel much better on the kayak when there isn’t that much room to manoeuvre. I fish with a variety of different strength rods but a personal favourite of mine for almost all the fishing I do is the Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Kayak rod in the 6/12lb class (http://www.shakespeare-fishing.co.uk/catalogue/rods,20778/ugly-stik-gx2-kayak,8862.html ). I love this rod and would highly recommend it from lure fishing to anchored up bait fishing. It has great sensitivity but has no problem pulling up a big cod in a strong tide.

shakespeare ugly stik gx2 kayak fishing

The reels and line
I fish with multipliers when bait fishing and spinning reels when lure fishing. I like multipliers in the 6000 or 6500 size. The abu 6500 feels a good size to me when paired with the Shakespeare Ugly Stik. I buy the old Abu’s off EBay. The older models that were made in Sweden seem to be much better made than the newer ones. Kayak fishing destroys reels as you will find out. These older models seem to last compared with a number of others I’ve gone through that seize up in no time. I use 30lb braid on my abu’s. I swear by braid. Mono just doesn’t give me the feeling I need to detect the subtle bites and also created too much drag for me when anchored up in a good current. The braid allows me to use much less lead to hold the bottom allowing me to fish with a lighter class of rod that gives me much more sport when I hook up with a good fish.

For lure fishing I use a spinning reel. I’ve been through quite a few due to the harsh conditions they have to go through on the kayak. One that is lasting much longer than the others is the Abu Cardinal 174 SWI. This is around the ‘4000’ size which again, feels good with the rods I use. I use this with 20lb braid. Link: http://www.abugarcia-fishing.co.uk/catalogue/reels,767/cardinal-swi,5061.html

Abu Cardinal 174swi reel kayak fishing

Extras:
– Leashes, leashes and more leashes. Leash everything down so you don’t lose it!
– An anchor with anchor line fitted to the kayak (unless you want to drift fish all the time)
– A kayak trolley. There is only one in my opinion which is the C-Tug.
– Selection of rigs. Keep it simple. A running ledger will do fine for bait fishing and a shad with weighted jig head for lure fishing.


Steps to becoming a proficient kayak fisherman:

1) At the beginning, go out with company without the fishing gear on a flat calm day. Paddle out a short distance and chuck yourself off. Then practice getting back on to the kayak. This skill is essential. You shouldn’t be heading out to sea with loads of gear aboard if you cannot perform a re-entry. It isn’t difficult but does need practice. This video is great at explaining the steps so watch it a few times and then get out there and try it for yourself.

Once you are confident at re-entries ensure you are happy paddling the kayak. A good paddling technique will see you going further with less energy so it would be worth watching some videos online such as this one:

2) You are now confident at kayak re-entries. It is now time to head out and go fishing. Take just one rod with you and stay fairly close to shore. Go with an experienced kayak fisherman. Enjoy yourself and catch fish.

3) Ideally repeat step 2 a good few times until you are feeling really confident. Then take a couple of rods out. Practice anchoring in a slight current. Anchoring carries risks, especially if you get caught side on to the current so practice in good company. This video shows you how it should be done:

4) Wherever possible, kayak fish with company. Over time you will get to figure out your limits. I do kayak fish on my own quite a bit as do quite a few I know but this comes with time. You need to be very confident in your own abilities before you do this and fishing with company is always going to be safer.

Have any questions? Just add a comment below. I’ll be happy to help.

Stealth Profisha 475 – at anchor and paddling in swell

Hi All,

This is just a short post to show the Stealth Profisha fishing kayak in action in messy 3-4 ft swell in the North East of England. I often fish at anchor in winter with the anchor running from the stern of the kayak. I’ve seen some comments that the kayak is no good at anchor but this has not been my experience. I find it very comfortable as the video shows.

The Stealth Profisha also excels in the choppy stuff. The secondary stability really kicks in making it a real joy to paddle when the sea has picked up a little.

Weedless rigs for Pollock and Cod – Kayak Fishing

Hi All,

I’ve been experimenting with the best ways for me to target Pollock (and now red kelp cod) from the thickest and extremely snaggy kelp beds found on most shorelines but in my case Whitley Bay, Cambois, Newbiggin, Embleton and most recently Eyemouth in Scotland.

This experimentation started at the beginning of last year after wanting to catch more and more pollock and losing more and more rigs to the kelp forests. With conventional shads and jig heads with exposed hooks it seemed it was only a matter of time before I lost the rig much to my frustration.

In addition, I was having a lot of success trolling deep diving lures. At approx 1.5 – 2 knots paddle speed the lure was diving to around 10ft which got regular hits in 20-25 ft of water with kelp beds. However, a sudden shallowing in terrain would result in one of the 2 sets of trebles getting snagged. A lot of the time these were lost.

Deep Diving Lures:
Firstly I removed the trebles for single hooks. These are in line single hooks so they are presented correctly. The decoy plugin ones work well (https://www.veals.co.uk/acatalog/decoy-pluggin-singles-3537.html). These have micro barbs and reduce snagging significantly and are so much kinder to the fish. Before, treble hooks could leave the fish in a right mess with front hooks in the mouth and rear in the body. This is far less likely with the single hooks and they are so much easier to remove. I have not noticed less hook ups and the pros far out weight the cons in my opinion.
Secondly I’ve become much better at monitoring the fish finder whilst trolling. With practice I’ve managed to control my speed to bring the lure up closer to the surface whilst travelling over shallower ground.
Thirdly, I’ve found adding a ‘teaser’ fly approximately 2ft before the deep diving lure deadly. More often that not the Pollock have grabed the teaser rather than the larger lure.

Picture of the set up:
P5260002

20140831_181711
20140806_201752
20140810_093953

Weedless Jelly Worm Rig:
This has become my go to rig for Pollock and it will take the occasional cod. I’e had a lot of success with this rig and I can fish it right through the deepest of kelp beds and rarely get snagged. If it does snag a little it almost always pulls through when tugging from a few different directions. I have a bullet lead on a short sliding trace of about 1-1.5ft. I vary the bullet weight depending on what depth I’m wanting to fish at. I then have a flowing trace of 3-4ft with a weedless hook which I attach to a jelly worm. Normally I just a 5g cone weight near the weedless hook just to help the jelly worm sink with the bullet weight but in the photo below I’m using a savage gear dart hook. This isn’t necessary but I had some lying around.

P5260001

20140831_152316(0)
20140831_163658
20140831_174057
20140724_103024

Weedless shads (Black Fiiish Minnow, Delande Swat Shads, Savage Gear Weedless Sandeel)
These are brilliant but not cheap. However, I’ve invested in quite a few different sizes and weights and really rate them. In addition, loses are small so whilst it is expensive up front you should have them a while. My favourite for waters less than 20ft is the Black Fiiish Minnow 120 (12g). For water between 20-30ft I switch to the 120 25g model. For deeper water the 140 40g works well as does the Delande Swat Shad 50g. The white version of the swat shad has been great for me when hunting the kelpie cod off the bottom. I’ve only just started using the Savage Gear Sandeels on weedless hooks so time will tell.

For Pollock in deeper waters I drop straight to the bottom and then fast retrieve to about 10ft below the kayak and then drop down again. I’ve had hits right up in the shallows which is a real rush so keep winding and don’t assume nothing is chasing it. In shallow waters I opt for a cast, sink and fast retrieve. I sweep the area whilst drifting to find the fish.

For cod, my method is really simple. I drop to the bottom and just bounce and twitch it so it goes approximately 1ft from the bottom and back down again. If there are cod there, it isn’t usually long before you get a tug followed by a nice bend in the rod 🙂

Below shows the mixture of lures I’ve been trying out:
P5260005

Cod
P5230006
20140722_085554
P5230004
Greedy one this one:
20140807_085446

Drop Shot Jigging Cod Rig:
This is a relatively new rig which I’ve been experimenting with after reading about it here: http://seakayakfishing.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/weedless-jigging-rigs-for-cod-and.html

In short, it works a treat. I’ve tried this on the last 3 kayak trips and I’m still using the same rig. I bought some 6oz in line weights from EBay and have plastic shad rigged weedlessly attached to the bottom ring with a split ring. About a foot above the in line weight I have a 4″ sandeel imitation rigged up using a drop shot knot. I use this for fishing waters deeper than 40ft and use the method as per the shads for cod (i.e. bouncing off the bottom with small twitches). I’ve yet to have a cod take the bottom shad but had a lot of hits on the sandeel.

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Rapala Weedless Shad 80 – The verdict is still out on these
I’ve just bought a couple of these to use on my light 8-25g lure rod. The finish on them is great. I’ve only had a couple of casts with them to date to observe their action and they have a great wobble. I’ll have to update you on how I get on with these.

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Well, there you have it. These are my rigs that I use throughout the summer when fishing for Pollock and Cod. I very rarely lose a rig giving me much more time to fish and they work. I’m really keen to hear what works for you or how my rigs can be improved further so please reply with any feedback.

Cheers,

James

DIY rear camera mount monopod for fishing kayak

I wanted a rear camera mount for my Garmin Virb so that I could record all the action whilst out fishing. The cost of some of the pre-built ones was excessive and wasn’t exactly what I was after. I did a bit of research and mixed together a few other people’s ideas and came up with this.

Rear camera mount kayak fishing

I bought a cheap extendable monopod from Ebay. I then took the camera mount from one end and fastened it to the other with a bit of epoxy resin. To this I mounted a flexible camera mount arm to allow me to choose any angle. This extends 70″ which is more than enough to get footage of the whole kayak and rods.

Kayak fishing camera mount rear

I attached a couple of safety hooks on elastic, one keeps the garmin virb attached to the monopod, the other keeps the monopod attached to the kayak. I’ve sprayed the whole set up with AC50 to hopefully keep rust at bay but time will tell.

I’ve only tried it once to date (see video below) but was happy with the footage.

Powder coating lead pirks

I got hold of some lead pirks recently for my trip to Norway in April. All that was needed was to give them some colour.

I bought some orange and luminous powder plastic coating and then set about working on the pirks. The luminous powder comes with a white base coat which needs to be added first.

lead pirk power paint

Here is what they looked like to start with:

lead pirks north east kayak fishing

lead pirks norway kayak fishing

When I did research on this most people used a blow torch. I didn’t have one and for a trial I was keen not to have to purchase one. I heated the over to 200 Degrees and placed the lead pirks on an old baking tray. Once hot enough I dipped them in the powder for approx a minute and then hung them on one of the trays.

oven heating pirks powder paint

I repeated this process a few times until it had a nice coating and the paint was smooth.

Once cooled I stuck some fish eyes on with superglue:

Lead pirk fish eyes

I then attached some assist hooks:

pirk jig assist hooks

And finally a muppet for a bit of added attraction:

kayak fishing pirk muppet

I also had a go at a 2 coloured pirk. Really happy with how this one came out:

Norway pirk kayak fishing

Lets just hope they do the business and attract some nice big fish in Norway. Fingers crossed….

James